CIVIL ENGINEERING 365 ALL ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEERING



AbstractInadequate signage and pavement markings and driver distractions in roadway work zones are contributory high-risk factors for workers and drivers on two-lane rural and multilane freeway facilities. The changes imposed by a work zone on operating conditions or roadway alignment, including the installation of temporary traffic control (TTC) devices and barriers, lane and shoulder width changes, and the presence of construction equipment, personnel, and materials, increase driver workload and the risk of high-severity crashes. Driving simulations are a useful tool that has been used for the analysis of operational and safety aspects of different geometric scenarios in both rural and urban contexts. A previous driving simulator experiment regarding the impact of an active global positioning system (GPS) while driving in the TTC zone of a work zone on a high-speed divided highway concluded that smartphone usage increases driver distractions and has the potential to contribute to severe and fatal crashes. This paper presents the results of a driving simulator study that compared the potential safety implications related to the use of a GPS while driving in two different road geometries and operational situations (two-lane rural road versus multilane divided freeway). Specifically, the effects of the distraction caused by the navigation information provided by an active GPS while approaching or entering the advanced warning area of the TTC zone and driver compliance with work zone regulations were investigated. The TTC design in the simulations followed the corresponding suggestions presented in typical applications (TAs) of a manual on uniform traffic control devices (MUTCD). However, the implementation of TTC on actual work zone activities on two-lane rural roads does not always follow MUTCD recommendations. The results indicated that drivers following GPS routing directions on two-lane rural roads are more likely to encroach on the work space, suggesting that additional or stricter precautions and measures must be implemented in TTC plans in order to mitigate the safety impact of distracted drivers. Supplementary and more stringent legislation is recommended to tackle three main aspects: driving distracted with GPS, encroaching on the work space, and compliance with safe TTC designs.



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